Mike Pelfrey’s final line vs the Phillies the other night was 2.0/IP 8/H 7/R 6/ER 1/BB 1/SO. The last time Pelfrey failed to pitch more that 2 innings in a start was July 19th of last year at Arizona where his final line was 1.1/IP 7/H 6/R 6/ER 2/BB 1/SO. A game the Mets lost by a final score of 13-2. The starting catcher that day? Rod Barajas.
After that game the consensus was that Pelfrey needed to get back to establishing the fastball. Barajas saying that unlike earlier in the year when Pelfrey was great with the fastball and was basically just fastball, split. Now he was Ball 1, Ball 2 with the fastball and the split hasn’t been as effective seemingly coming out of his hand out of the strike zone.
Former Mgr Jerry Manuel had this to say following Pelfrey’s outing. “He’s not a finesse guy,” Manuel said. “He’s not a trick guy. He’s a power sinker guy, and that’s what he’s got to get back to.”
Here is the SNY PostGame video of that July 19th 2010 game courtesy of Metsblog.
Notice how Pelfrey put the responsibility squarely on his shoulders. Which is why I was so disappointed to see Pelfrey this time around in saying the fault lies with him he did so by blaming his young catcher Josh Thole who has started all of 70 games at the big league level for calling the wrong pitches and Pelfrey not shaking him off.
His comment was quickly followed by Terry Collins reaching out to both Pelfrey and Thole to keep those things in-house. Collins saying “I wanted to make sure the discussions were with Mike and not you guys,”
Some of the things Pelfrey said during his postgame were:
Pelfrey: “I felt like a lot of the times I fell behind you know with my 3rd and 4th best pitches.”
Pelfrey: “I got beat you know a couple of times on those pitches instead of getting beat with the fastball and my split. I threw 3 splits tonight I thought split was really good I only threw 3 of them in.”
Reporter: Is it something you have to work on you have to look at tape and see if it’s only mechanical?
Pelfrey: I thought mechanics were fine. I just thought that I screwed around too much. Too many sliders and too many curveballs. Especially coming out throwing 2 of the 1st 5 pitches were curveballs. I can’t do that. Obviously that’s not my game I got to use the fastball and I got to use the split and like I said I didn’t use the spit until the 4th inning. You know the last of the 2nd so, I just wasn’t very good tonight and approach was probably most of it.
Reporter: What was your approach? Why do you think you was going to those pitches instead of your strengths?
Pelfrey: Ultimately it’s on me. I went along with everything. I didn’t shake and it’s totally on me which I am the pitcher and it’s totally on me for going along. Obviously I didn’t make pitches. I fell behind in the count and I threw fastballs when they were in fastball counts when they were looking for.
Audio courtesy of WFAN.com
Terry Collins on the other hand said he disagreed with Pefrey’s idea that his problem was about pitch selection and felt it was something entirely different. “It’s location,” Collins said. “It came down to Mike just didn’t make the pitches he wanted to make. He was angry because he didn’t make the pitches, and it’s human nature to say, ‘I wish I had done something else.‘”
Collins is right that Pelfrey in the end didn’t execute his pitches but I have to wonder. Is he is also trying to protect his young catcher just a bit as well?
- 50 pitches
- 31 strikes
- 19 balls
- 3 swing & misses
- 8 called strikes
From those 50 pitches the breakdown among pitch types was:
- 21 Sinkers
- 8 Four Seam Fastballs
- 8 Splitters
- 7 Sliders
- 6 Curveballs
If you agree that Pelfrey is a Fastball, Splitter type of pitcher and that is his strength then you can make a case that while Pelfrey was wrong for publicly calling out his catcher. He may be right that he is not pitching to his strengths. Tomorrow both Thole and Pelfrey will sit down and go over the video to see what they can do to correct whatever it is that needs correcting. In the meantime all we can do is hope that Pelfrey can right himself and give the Mets the much needed innings from him that is required.